HAVANA._ Marabana director general, Carlos Gattorno, said that the now traditional marathon has overtaken its own record of foreign participants.

In a release to the national press, Gattorno revealed that the presence of 409 foreign athletes from 25 nations in the 2015 race confirmed the prestige that the event has attained over the past years.

The director clarified that this record refers to the first registration phase which runs from January to July 31 and comprises those who have paid their fees.

The second registration phase starts on August 1st, closing on October 30, and the third one runs from November 1st to 14.

Marabana director general, Carlos Gattorno, said that the now traditional marathon has overtaken its own record of foreign participants.In the 29 previous races, this record number of runners has only been registered as late as November, during the week prior to the event.

On this basis, the director is optimistic that last year’s record of 644 visiting athletes on the starting line could be surpassed.

In the face of such interest from foreign and national athletes, organizers have announced a series of qualifying events; the first of which will be the 10km Mandela race on July 19th.

In addition to the Marabana marathon next November 15, the event will also incorporate Maracuba, a popular race with a simultaneous nationwide start that takes place the day before.

Marabana and Maracuba are traditionally held as part of National Sport and Exercise Day, the celebrations of the foundation of the Villa of San Cristóbal de la Habana, and the designation of the Cuban capital as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Among events included in Marabana are open conventional walking and running championships for Elite, Non-Elite, Master, Disabled (blind, deaf and wheelchair) athletes in marathons of 21km – half marathon - and 10km distances.

There are also popular 5km races in which participants can walk in order to simply get some healthy exercise, which is one of Maracuba’s main objectives.

Last year the winner in the women’s elite category were Misleidys Vargas (marathon) and Yailen Garcia (half-marathon) with Jorge Luis Suarez taking the men’s marathon and Richer Perez the half-marathon title.

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